Luis and Lola have been married for seven years. Both were in their early 30s and Lola felt her time clock was ticking. Lola became obsessed with wanting to have a child. She started reading books on this topic, did everything to stay healthy, worked out, slept early, and ate well. Luis did the same.
One day Luis told his wife, “My parents are eager for us to have a child and it is not happening. What do you think about adopting a child?” Lola answered, “No not yet, not now.”
She confided to Luis she may be pregnant. They saw their primary doctor. It was confirmed that she was with child. The news spread to both of their families. Everyone was elated. After four months, Lola had a miscarriage. Lola’s emotions spiraled down. She felt guilty and blamed herself. The once cheerful Lola was beginning to show signs of depression, anger, and anxiety.
At times she would have uncontrollable bursts of crying and weeping. She felt inferior to friends with children. Her self-confidence reached rock bottom. She felt deeply responsible for her miscarriage and felt so alone. All her friends have healthy babies and children, while she had none. She talked to herself a lot. She was afraid to bring it up to her husband; he may add more pain and grief that could put a strain on their relationship. She suffered alone and in silence. One day, she told her friend Alicia she might harm herself so she would never wake up again.
A friend who listens
Alicia was in shock when she heard Lola’s statement but remained calm. She did not utter a word and did not interrupt while Lola poured her feelings of disappointment and frustration.
Alicia listened. Alicia is trained in first aid and suicide intervention. She applied what she has learned. She connected, communicated, and showed compassion, empathy and care. At the end of their conversation, Alicia encouraged Lola to see a therapist. Together they looked for a therapist whom Lola was comfortable with.
After four sessions, Lola felt much better and practiced the coping skills she learned from her therapist.
She started to feel alive and invigorated. Her husband confided in her that he was afraid to talk with her about certain situations that would trigger her to become uncomfortable and insecure and that is the reason why he pretended that everything was OK even after the miscarriage.
After their hearts mended, Lola conceived.
Luis vowed to be a dedicated husband and father. Their marriage bonded, and, guided by their spirituality, they prepared for the arrival of their triplets.
What could have happened if Alicia did not listen to Lola while she was feeling hopeless, helpless and alone?
It is for this reason, that each one of us has a responsibility to know how to reach out and help someone who loses a sense of purpose in life and wants to end it all.
You can help someone hold on to that flicker of hope – that beacon of light and say yes, life is still worth living.
Marie Virata Halloran, is a registered nurse and is certified in grief and death studies. She is the Rainbows for All Children Guam/LifeWorks Guam executive director.